Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hoop Jumping

I think it's worth reposting the article I wrote in Thinking With My Hands back in October of 2010 warning Canadian wallers against letting their passion for stone become stifled by the dictates of professionalism. 


'It may be that the question before us today is not the value of certification but rather the dangers of professionalism.
In an edition of Intelligent Life, the life culture and style quarterly periodical put out by the Economist (Winter 2010), an article by Ed Smith, discussed the questionable motives behind and the self-deception of professional orthodoxy as an end in itself and suggested that it had sucked the pleasure out of not only sports and recreational activities but also out of his work and his craft.

In the quotes below Smith explores this subject in relation to professional sports.

— " How did the concept of professionalism become so dominant? And why is it assumed to be innately desirable? Professionalism has certainly travelled a long way in a short time. In the space of a hundred years, the words "professional" and "amateur" have virtually swapped places. 

At the end of the 19th century, an amateur meant someone who was motivated by the sheer love of doing something; professional was a rare pejorative term for grubby money making. Now, amateurism is a by-word for sloppiness, disorganization and ineptitude, while professionalism is the default description of excellence. Ours is the age of professionalism: it is a concept in perpetual bloom. 

But all bubbles as we have painfully learned about finance, must eventually burst. Is it time we let some of the hot air out of professionalism?"

— " Professionalism isn't so much a real process as a form of self-definition. We have had to become ever more professional because that has become the lens through which we interpret progress and success. The question no one ever dared asked: is professionalism actually helping us to do anything any better?" 

We as wallers should ask ourselves - should someone else's interpretation of 'professionalism' dictate the value we put on our own abilities and the level of craftsmanship we have set for ourselves ?  Is our motivation to wall better or just to pass tests better? 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this, John. Goal orientation is the killer of creativity sometimes. Proffesionalism is a conspiracy against the laity